Ecosystem changes

Fathead minnow
Fathead minnow

Minnows can manage drastic temperature increases, study shows

Like other fish, minnows can adjust their body temperatures to match that of their surroundings.

Research into the effects of climate change on fish generally focus on their heat tolerance at an increase of two or three degrees Celsius above the current average temperatures.

However, a recent University of Illinois study wanted to find out how fathead minnows handled short-term temperature spikes—those amounting to as much as 5 to 10 degrees Celsius above average.

A new approach to enhance coral resilience comprise of selective sexual propagation, coral probiotics and environmental hardening, to enhance coral’s stress resilience and allow reefs to regrow under changed environmental conditions.
A new approach to enhance coral resilience comprise of selective sexual propagation, coral probiotics and environmental hardening, to enhance coral’s stress resilience and allow reefs to regrow under changed environmental conditions.

Restoring coral to health

Corals are able to respond to changes in their environment through acclimation (the physiological process of becoming accustomed to a new condition) and adaptation and researchers believe natural populations may already be adapting to increasing sea surface temperatures.

Soft coral, cup coral, sponges and ascidians from Komodo National Park
Soft coral, cup coral, sponges and ascidians from Komodo National Park

Coral reef biodiversity predicted to shuffle, not decline

Rather than causing a collapse of biodiversity, the dual stressors of ocean warming and acidification could instead lead to significant changes in the relative abundance of species, resulting in a shuffling of coral reef community structure, according to a new study by researchers from University of Hawai'i.

Sprawling coral reefs are complex ecosystems that are teeming with life and most of this biodiversity consists of tiny organisms living deep within the three-dimensional reef matrix.

Healthy coral reefs naturally produce sediment -- in fact, that's what atolls are made of.

Are atolls rising to keep up?

Atolls are often only around two meters (6.6 feet) above sea level, but sea levels could rise by more than that by the end of this century, according to prevailing climate models. Four atoll nations -- the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Maldives, which are together home to more than half a million people -- were the most vulnerable on the planet to climate change but under threat was also those in the Caroline Islands, Cook Islands, Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Society Islands, Spratly Islands, Seychelles, and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Common Lionfish

Proposed bill to ban lionfish sales in Florida

Tallahassee lawmakers are joining spear-wielding divers in an attempt to control Florida’s ever-increasing lionfish numbers. If passed, the two proposed bills would halt the public’s ability to purchase lionfish for aquariums and raising them for sale would become a level two felony.

All of the details of the bill have not been decided. I’m saying let’s get rid of them. Put an end to lionfish in aquariums.

—Sen. Greg Ever

Lionfish are now found in waters from North Carolina south to Florida, the Caribbean, and all Gulf of Mexico states.
Lionfish are now found in waters from North Carolina south to Florida, the Caribbean, and all Gulf of Mexico states.

How to combat invasive lionfish

Lionfish have no natural predators and are taking food and habitat from native fish that are important to the local ecology and economy. Lionfish are now found in waters from North Carolina south to Florida, the Caribbean, and all Gulf of Mexico states.

This new manual, Invasive Lionfish: A Guide to Control and Management includes the best available science and practices for controlling lionfish in marine protected areas, national parks, and other conservation areas.